Mark Atwood (fallenpegasus) wrote,
Mark Atwood
fallenpegasus

Lawyers trying to sneak "super-trademarks" into NDAs

Currently on Slashdot there is a story titled Google's evil NDA. One of the things mentioned is that it "forbids you to 'mention or imply the name of Google' in public ever again.".

Amazon has the same problem. I've signed an NDA with Amazon A2Z, and I deleted that particular paragraph before I signed it, because I thought it was stupid and pointless, and had nothing to do with protecting AZN/A2Z's trade and tech secrets. They accepted that without complaint.

But recently I've been asked to sign another agreement with Amazon, concerning the selling them the work of the white paper that I'm writing about adding AWS auth to libcurl. It had the same stupid paragraph, and I struck it again, and this time their laywers noticed and rejected my change. We're at an impasse.

I'm sure that Google and Amazon are not the only companies with this particular piece of standard stupidity written into their NDAs and their work contracts.


  • "Oh, that's just boilerplate" is a stupid thing to say, and I will call it out as stupid. Boilerplate is part of the contract.
  • "We don't enforce that" is also a stupid thing to say. If you don't enforce it, don't put it in the contract!
  • "The lawyers require it" is also a stupid thing to say, and I will call it out as stupid. Lawyers are to do what they are told, not the other way around.
  • "It protects our trade secrets" is a doubly stupid thing to say, and I will call it out as stupid. TRADEMARKS ARE NOT TRADE SECRETS, and trying to conflate them is is a lie, and a damn lie.


Trademarks have plenty of existing protection in statute, precident, and treaty. Trying to turn trademark protection into something that it isn't, is, at risk of repeating myself, stupid, a lie, and evil.


Always read the contract. Read your NDAs. Read your work contracts. And don't let big stupid companies try to grab more than they should.
Tags: amazon, contracts, geek, google, law, nda, trademark
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